Home » Cold Start: Reality Is Slippery Like An Oiled Snake

Cold Start: Reality Is Slippery Like An Oiled Snake


I wish I could give a better, or, really, any explanation about why I feel this way, but I can’t. I’ve tried, and I still feel it, but I cannot qualify why I feel this way. Here’s what it is: see that car up there? It’s a 1977 Toyota Carina, which started as the Celica’s sedan brother. My problem is every time I look at this car, it looks fake to me.

I can’t put my finger exactly on what it is, perhaps just my relative unfamiliarity with this model that never came to America, but it looks to me like a late ’70s version of one of those generalized composite cars you see in insurance ads.

It doesn’t look bad, it just looks like someone took some Accords and Bluebirds and B210s and Crowns and Coronas and GLCs and a lot of other Japanese cars of the era, gave it to a magic giant dog to masticate, and spit out this.

Am I the only one who feels like this? It’s something about the headlights, I think. And the side looks just like a 1979-1981 Accord sedan, too.

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50 Responses

  1. The “problem” is that the clean, crisp styling this car exemplifies ran counter to Toyota’s design language at the time. Look at a 1977 Corona or Corolla and note the slightly busy design cues and rounded edges. (And by ’77 those cues had been watered down compared to earlier years.) This looks too European to be a Japanese car.

    1. Unless I missed a comment from one of them, David and Jason’s silence suggests to me that they may be more than aware of Mercedes’ departure from that other site, if you know what I mean. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

    2. She and Rob are the only reasons I went back there. When she wrote about her troubles financing a new motorcycle my comment included caution about the fleeting nature of employment in her field. Might have been uncharacteristically good advice coming from me.

      1. I go there for the NPOCP.
        I stay until the “subscribe to our newsletter” pop up pops up.
        I type in Dave Tracy’s email, then I’m done there for the day.

    3. Wait, what? Really? Best wishes of greener pastures and all that, but I certainly hope she has interest in grazing this pasture.

          1. That’s because the Herbs decreed that there were to be absolutely no more ‘goodbye’ posts at all under any circumstances, and definitely not any roasts.
            Because all of those posts hurt the feelings of the Herbs.

            Eat shit, Jim Spanfeller. You and every one of your friends is an herb and nobody will ever like any of you.

              1. Tom and Rob are both freelancers. Rob only really seems to do NPoND these days with the rare ‘wrenching tip’ article. Tom hasn’t written too much recently other than ‘What Car Should I Buy’ either.
                All of A/V Club is gone at this point – the last lifers quit in January when the Herbs demanded they move from Chicago to LA with no cost of living adjustment.
                Jezebel lost everyone long ago due to an explicitly hostile work environment.
                Same for The Root; that’s directly the result of shitting on the staffers and installing De Luca.

                So I guess the shitheads at Great Hill can start looting the lightbulbs.

                1. Out of the satellite sites, I probably miss The Takeout the most. Most of the good writers were lost in the last couple year’s diaspora.

                2. I sometimes accidentally type in the url for the A/V Club and get sad.

                  I don’t know why you’d buy websites just to get rid of the reasons people read those websites. I also get the sense that the comments are pretty much dead, way fewer replies than usual (not that I was extremely popular, but sometimes I’d get notifications on a post) and a lot less interesting content.

                  The worst part is all the writers I liked have dispersed into the ether and harder to find.

                  1. You notice how you don’t see any GMG Union avatars any more? That’s part of it – hundreds if not thousands of accounts were banned and purged. Quite likely every burner account with no email or personal information associated with it.

                    At the same time new burner account creation was disabled (you have to give them your Google account or FB to sign up now,) the Kinja moderation is just swinging all over the place while they took it away from everyone else. Some articles are just flooded with hate speech, ‘this author needs to die,’ etc. But then they delete nearly every comment on other articles, and instantly vaporize any comments pointing out the slideshows are bullshit. And if you thought the grays were bad before, it’s gotten orders of magnitude worse.

                    1. I never did manage to escape the grays despite years of comments and not a single insult that i can remember. Maybe i should have insulted more people more often.

    4. Honestly, I’m surprised she lasted as long as she did, since the Herbs made it extremely clear that they wanted domestic terrorists handled with kid gloves. Especially the bigoted ones.

    5. Damn, so mannnnnnny hours wasted on that site when I should have been working. I haven’t been keeping up with it since this launched, who’s left over there?

  2. Meh, I’d still take it over most any Camry. Sure, it’s derivative and a bit bland as a result, but it’s not bad or offensive (af least not to me).

  3. Having lived in Nagasaki in ‘77, this looks normal to me. Just needs kanji on the plate and those almost-to-the-headlights fender mirrors. And the curtains & tissue box; then you’re good.

  4. Nuclear family – check
    Car – check
    Road – check
    OK, everything is normal.

    Oh wait, I ate ‘ethnic’ food last night. I don’t feel so good.

  5. When I see a pic of a “not looking for any trouble” style car like this I auto- visualize some 3″ convex flares, watnabes with the required negative offset, a color not found in nature, and some brian ferry cassettes in the console. Or, a lowered ’64 malibu on daisy wheels. Some verisimilitude can make bland cars exquisite.
    Mercedes would be a good fit here, where I need only one image from the Torch Archive and a single word, say “spongiform”, to get the ball rolling in the comments

  6. The front end on this looks like it was designed by AI. It’s got that uncanny valley thing going on. Also maybe triggering a bit of trypophobia.

    Even if you ditch the center headlights it would still look odd, because the others would be too far apart. You’d need to pull those in a bit, then add some marker lights or turn signals outboard of those.

  7. It is the car as appliance. These were quite popular in Sweden when I was little, but mostly rusted away by the time I reached high school. Delightfully conventional in every aspect imaginable.

  8. My aunt had one of these when I was REALLY young. I can barely remember it other than it having rust issues and her sending it off to be scrapped.

    It was bad enough that she replaced it with a shite-brown Austin Allegro.

    1. Pretty sure Torch writes these pieces just so he can use the word “masticate” and giggle a little because it’s so close to “masturbate”.

      Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  9. This is a child’s crayon drawing of a car. To be specific, it is the drawing of a child who does not care about cars. This car is meant to fill out the background of a much more interesting drawing of a field of wildflowers, or sit in the driveway of a beautiful fairy house, or be crushed beneath the metal foot of a giant, fire-breathing robot lizard. It is the classic formula of “default car”: short box at either end with a tall box in the middle, two circles at the bottom for wheels, a little dot at one end for headlights, and (if you’re lucky) a dash of red at the other end for the (U.S.-spec) taillights – because a child who doesn’t care about cars isn’t going to bother reaching for a second color to represent an amber indicator. This photo looks fake because it is in the center of the picture – when, obviously, it should really be to the side of some larger, more interesting image. When I first clicked on the article, the photo didn’t load. When I refreshed it so the photo would load properly, I still didn’t see anything.

  10. When I first saw the photo, I guessed it was some sort of English Ford from the late ’70s. But then, I’m looking at it on my phone and don’t have my reading glasses. Looks extra-generic that way.

  11. It looks fake because, as far as styling cues go, it has none. No character lines, no interesting curves, and it’s silver, probably the blandest color.

    It’s not a car. It’s just a placeholder for one.

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